This Christmas story is about a woman, my grandmother, Mary Rustine Transue. For the purpose of this story, I will refer to her as Mary. However, she lives in my heart, as Memmy.
Mary was the Mother of fifteen children. She was hardworking and dedicated to her family and friends. Mary was filled with a never-ending love. When I close my eyes, I can still see her happy face and sparkling blue eyes.
Let me set the scene for you…
It was during the era of The Great Depression. Banks went out of business, jobs were hard to find, and money was tight. Christmas was fast approaching, and Mary started to get little worried.
She was trying hard to earn a little money each week to help feed her children. Although some of her older children were married and had a family of their own, Mary worried. She often would make meals that she could stretch inviting her older children and families to join them for their evening meal. Mary always took less on her plate so each one would have enough.
She was an excellent baker and would often make molasses crumb pies to sell to those who could afford the luxury of a sweet treat. Mary also sold eggs from her hens to help her family.
Each Christmas during the Depression was a challenge for Mary and Amzi. Although they lived a meager life, Mary wanted her children to get a little something for the holidays. One year, in particular, was really tough and there was only enough money to barely get by. It was the first year that Mary took her eggs to the little country store and brought only half of the money home.
She had a short talk with the owner and asked if she could buy each of her children an orange. Mary also wanted to buy a little candy, too but did not have enough money. The owner, who liked Mary, gave her enough candy for each family member. He told her to take the oranges home and the rest could be paid the next time she brought her eggs into the store.
When Christmas morning came, Mary, the sweet, loving woman who loved her family beyond words, woke up to laughing children, ready to explore their stockings hung on the mantle of the stone fireplace. Stockings that were darned over and over again. But none the less, stockings for Santa to put a little something into. She was happy that Christmas, and so was her family.
My Mother told me this story two weeks before she took her journey to heaven. Although she was getting tired, her beautiful blue eyes, eyes like her mother’s, came alive when she spoke. I will never forget that night. It is etched into my heart forever.
I was twelve when my Grandmother past of a massive heart attack. My memories of her are ones of pure love. She loved everyone she met and was always there for her family. Memmy endured a lot of heartache over the years. She helped to take care of several of her children when they were ill with terminal diseases. Oh, the tears she cried. But it did not change her heart. She continued to love and help all those she met.
Merry Christmas, Memmy! Please give my mother a Christmas kiss for me.